Capt. Jacques “Jakamo” Laboureur said the rocks at the end of the MRGO are always the first place the trout show up to kick off the summer trout season, and this is the month it happens.
“The rocks actually jumped out to an early start this year and good trout action started up in April. It’s on right now,” said Laboureur, with Jakamo South out of Shell Beach.
The Long Rocks are an 8 mile long stretch of rock jetty protruding into Breton Sound, and every year anglers line up along them to catch trout, redfish, sheepshead, flounder and any number of other species from jacks to Spanish mackerel, shark and banana fish. But the main targets are trout and reds.
“You can fish anywhere along the rocks and catch fish, but there are a few things to look for to optimize your chance for success,” Jakamo said.
“You can fish at the ends of the rocks, at the cut or the Gap (where nearly a mile long section was removed and used in the construction of the rock dam in Hopedale). But when I run along the rocks I always look for any sign of baitfish; glass minnows, mullet, shrimp jumping — anything that will attract predators. I don’t hesitate to stop and make a few casts just to see what’s chasing that bait," he said. "You can try tossing a topwater bait for some explosive action if the conditions allow it, or tight-lining some plastic if you keep it from snagging in the rocks. But most people throw live shrimp under a cork.
"I tell folks not to try to cast too close to the rocks because you’ll hang up. And a common mistake I see people make is they only cast toward the rocks. You should always have at least one rod rigged with a low profile Carolina rig, maybe just a 1/8- or ¼-ounce weight because anything heavier will be more prone to hanging up, or either you can free-line a live shrimp with just a split shot about 6 inches above the hook, and cast towards the Ship Channel. The rocks extend out for quite a distance and the fish are often under your boat or right off the bottom on the deeper side. We tend to be so sight oriented we cast only to what we see, but the fish can be all over those rocks that are below the surface."
Another Jakamo tip: When you anchor along the rocks, try not to let out all your chain and rope because it’s more likely to snag up on the rock bottom.
“Anchor tight, and keep a diligent eye on your position in case the anchor slips,” he said. “You don’t want to wind up on the rocks.
“And please don’t try to use the ‘anchor’ button on your GPS trolling motor when the wind is blowing or the current is strong, because your trolling motor will cause so much commotion trying to hold your position that it’ll chase all the fish away and defeat your purpose. Just my 2 cents.”